We all like to support local and shop from the small businesses in our towns all year. But on Small Business Saturday, you really have no excuse! Read all about Tessa Duquette's experiences with this special day!
Where did Small Business Saturday originate from? You’d think someone from a small business created the official day. But quite the contrary. It was an idea from the credit card giant American Express. In 2010 the credit card company started to offer small business owners free, personalized ads to spread across the web.
So instead of feeling bummed out over it being a corporate-driven shopping day, change your mindset. Think of it more like a national movement to promote shopping at small, local businesses for the holidays!
Ok, so let’s dive into all things local, and why my love for "Small Business Saturday" runs so dee
I have a teeny tiny bit of experience in this small business stuff! Last year, I participated in my very first year as a small business owner. Therefore, I know exactly what goes into the prep, planning, set-up, and the actual day of Small Business Saturday. I spent weeks preparing for the day. I was working hard as well to have a full stock of my inventory of Search & Find Adventure Cards. Also, I had to create a display that would work for showing what I was selling.
Feeling nervous but very excited, I drove through Pungo heading to the Cromwell’s Produce Farm. There, famous “Coral Caravan: Holiday Edition” was to be held. The vibe at these holiday markets is so cool! If you’ve been to any of the Coral Caravan events in years past, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Small Business Saturday 2017 was COLD, and I was not fully prepared for the chill. My feet were frozen because I didn't wear the correct socks under thick boots (learned my lesson quick). But then the sun came out midday and everyone warmed up! Setting up a booth takes careful planning and perfect execution. But sometimes (often) things do not go as planned. Then you have to solve a problem as you’re hustling to set up. My displays, for example, had trouble staying upright on the grass. So I was moved last minute to a better top.
As the morning of Small Business Saturday began, the smell of the fresh-cut greens and trees wafted through the market. Music from the band started to spread through Cromwell’s. The Fika Coffee Bar was slinging coffee whereas Lolly’s Soup & Ice Cream was at their very first event warming everyone up with a side of ice cream for balance! Santa was greeting children and handing out candy canes. There was even a table where kids could make their own gingerbread houses. Seeing my vendor friends and the customers also made a good day even better! My friends and family arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to enjoy the festivities and shop. All in all - it was a fantastic day!
This year is a little different, as I won't be set-up as a vendor. BUT this means that I get to pop around town and support my friends!
In my circle of crafty friends and lovers of all things handmade and local, The Coral Caravan's Holiday Market at Cromwell's Produce has lovingly been dubbed "It's like a real-life Hallmark Christmas movie!" So you can better believe it that this is where we're going to start our day.
The fearless leader of this year's Small Business Saturday and self-proclaimed "purveyor of FUN" is Emily Gentry (aka: @your_home_girl). She does such a fantastic job. Curating the vendors and assembling just the right amount of festive cheer, Emily herself is a collector of treasures. You've probably seen her beloved Shasta camper "Clementine". It is the real star of the show around town! However, this is the second holiday market Emily has organized at Cromwell's Produce. It is one to not miss - especially on Small Business Saturday. Santa will be there again. So join me in enjoying the morning of holiday FUN with Emily and the gang!
I consider the Vibe Creative District my home turf. Hence, I spend a lot of time at these small, locally-owned-and-operated businesses on a daily basis! In fact, many of my neighbors and friends own businesses here. So I will definitely be hitting the streets to support them. There are over a dozen bricks-and-mortar local business storefronts participating in sales, specials, and a district-wide scavenger hunt on Small Business Saturday that you do not want to miss.
Start at the ViBe Park at the corner of 18th St and Cypress Avenue. This will serve as the starting point for Small Business Saturday. Head to 1701's Welcome Table, and stock up on #shopsmall swag! Today only, the ViBe Park will be transformed into a Marketplace full of a fabulous group of small business vendors popping up! Check them out before you arrive so you can start your list!
Don't forget to pick up the ViBe Creative District Scavenger Hunt form, too, and walk around to participating businesses. Then turn in your form for a chance to win the grand prize. Last year's prize totaled over $500 in gift certificates and prizes. The event will also include LIVE music by two local bands. Community mural painting and yard games for the kids will be there as well.
With the unique selection of businesses, you won't be disappointed. Hence, you can basically find ANY type of gift for even the most difficult person to give to! As you walk down the sidewalks, be sure to check out the beautiful murals and sidewalk art. Also, stop into the participating businesses to check off the items on your scavenger hunt and stock up on all things local.
Jollity & Co Party Boutique in Norfolk is your one-stop party supply shop. They are hosting a Black Friday AND a Small Business Saturday shopping extravaganza as well! I like to stock up for future parties and trust me, they have all sorts of fantastic goodies. Besides great deals on all things happy - they will have gifts to thank their shoppers for shopping small.
If you're going to spend a few hours in Norfolk, VA, also head over to Kitsch. They have a ton of wonderful locally made gifts. Then to Yorgo’s Bageldashery to pick up a gift certificate and perhaps a few bagels to keep everyone moving. Serendip has festive holiday decor and delicious smelling candles. A Dodsons is also in Norfolk, with many of the same inventory at their other stores. Mary Barnett’s is a hidden gem, but with beautiful ornaments, stocking stuffers as well as many gifts for all ages.
I asked my small business owner friends to share with me the specials. WELL is offering 1-hour life wellness checks on special for $50! The Royal Chocolate will have 15 percent off on everything in the shop. HIP Boutique in Newport News will have great deals!
Aloha Snacks, my go-to restaurant will be offering discounts on my favorite tuna poke bowls ALL DAY! My friend Kari of Pampered Chef is offering online deals on her website. The fabulous ladies at The Collective already have great savings, and you'll see them at various pop-ups around town that same day.
Have fun! Support local! I'll see you out around town doing the same thing!
And share your Small Business Saturday finds with friends and family on FamilyApp!